Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happy THAT Birthday!

On the 10th of this month, I’ll be celebrating a significant birthday. I’m giving you advance notice -- not to ease your gift giving dilemma (though anything Apple will be fine) – but to alert you to the response I expect to receive when I reveal my soon-to-be age. (Photographs on this page include celebrities who share my year of birth.)

I figure if I give you fair warning, there'll be less disappointment on my end, and you might even get a kick out of making my day.

I'm taking this nervy route because I've already been blurting my upcoming digits and notice the reactions of others depends upon the age, occupation, and gender of the person hearing it. Ideally, the reply should be, “No! I don’t believe it! You look terrific! I took you for 10 years younger!” And indeed that often spills from the mouths of kindly middle-age waitresses whose tip, I admit, depends on my good nature.

But, I've found that younger women who overhear the occasion and its tally offer a tepid “Happy Birthday” and continue passing my groceries down the conveyer belt or searching for the book or article of clothing I was seeking.

As for the male species, it has been my experience that no matter where they land on the age or job continuum, they have no clue as to the match-up of appearance and age and only prefer the woman they are facing be younger.

If you think this is a rant, and want to offer phrases meant to ease my birthday passage; i.e. It’s Only A Number, Think Of The Alternative, You Could Live Another Twenty Years, don’t bother.

Or if you plan on scolding me for being ungrateful for my good fortune in reaching this age intact; I am aware of my blessings and thank Her every morning for Her generosity.

All I’m asking, when we meet face-to-face, and I disclose the birthday number (you can find it in my memoir or on my Facebook profile, but you’ll have to do the math), just remember the response I've requested in paragraph three. (A reminder: “No! I don’t believe it! You look terrific! I took you for 10 years younger!”) Then you can forget about a wrapped and beribboned present. Your sincere look of surprise and awe will be more than enough.


Anonymous said...

I do know your age--I ht that magic date two weeks ago. What a surprise! (not) We both are Leos.

Enjoy the day and be well!


Anonymous said...

Dear Elaine Muriel,

No, I don't believe it. We all look at least 10, no 20, years younger. Being in touch with other classmates has allowed me to go through this shocking birthday again and again, but it will be "for real" just 10 days after your big day. I keep hoping people will guess my significant age as being at least 5 years younger,but, as Gloria Steinem said when told she didn't look 40, "this is what 40 (or 70) looks like." Stay well and celebrate many more birthdays with good health and a good sense of humor. You are a delight and have only gotten better with age.

Beverly Elaine

Anonymous said...

I took you for TWENTY years younger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy almost Bday!


Anonymous said...

Dearest Elaine:

THAT birthday or any of yours are precious. May they continue to be numerous and delightful.

Love always,

Anonymous said...

Have the happiest of birthdays--if I didn't know the significance of this birthday because of Ruth, I would NEVER guess it. Sue Gilbert

Elizabeth Crane said...

Elaine, you are the best looking ahem year old I know! But more than anything it's your youthful exuberance for life that's so delightful about you. Here's to the next ten!


Kris Cahill said...

Happy (early) Birthday to you! You have the same year as my mom, and I am twenty years behind the two of you, with a certain birthday coming up for me this November.

It used to be that certain ages were considered so old, but I've seen people younger than me acting like they are older than you. You are vibrant, interested in life, and continuing to grow and create. So age becomes just a number!

Marshall Rosenthal said...

Happy birthday, and enjoy Joseph Epstein's wonderful essay, "The kid turns 70."

Anonymous said...

Hi Elaine: Well....HAPPY HAPPY BIRHTDAY. Am trying to figure out the age you allude to in your e-mail. If it's the age I reached in January, you will have "mucho" to write about and celebrate. I just don't know how I got here!

Have a wonderful day.....MARLENE

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! I can’t believe it!!!!! You don’t look any older than 39….42 at the most!
Love, love, and happy birthday

Danny said...

I'd say you look 30 years younger! My writer mother-in-law is turning the same age as you on August 31st. I remember when that number DID seem old to me years ago. Now it seems like you're a true spring chicken! Mazel tov!! (Can't wait to see you during our upcoming trip!)

Anonymous said...

Love the blog. Although I'm a mere 11 years behind you, I agree wholeheartedly on all of it.
You look marvelous darling! I'd never have guessed.
Love, R

Anonymous said...

Ohh! Does that mean that you'll be getting that other tattoo now??


Anonymous said...

If I did not know that you are 6 years younger than me and that I was just 76, kinds of tips me to say WOW!
Are you doing something spectacular to celebrate the day.

I am wishing you the happiest of Birthdays and many more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Happy THAT Birthday and thanks for a good laugh tonight.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elaine,
Happy 39th birthday. I share my birthday with the notorious boxer Mike Tyson.

Anonymous said...


We wish you a very happy birthday and many more healthy ones. We're proud of you and all your accomplishments, not the least of which is a great family. If you're in Evanston ever, please let us know.

Susan and Jay

Anonymous said...

Elaine Elaine Elaine~~~~ You look marvelous and I am a poor excuse for a neighbor friend for not contacting you on your special day to wish you a day of celebration for a woman that does not even look remotely near the age of x0. Yes, I calculated and suspected what your age was and only because I know you and some of your oh-so-many accomplishments. And could you really have accomplished all this in less than xx years on this earth? I doubt it~

I could have figured out your number without checking your memoir, but did the double-check anyway. Why, you ask? Just to prove to my moderately younger mind that I could still calculate!